I had high hopes for this book because it encompasses various elements I love in my literature - a post-apocalyptic world, sci-fi, horror, existentialI had high hopes for this book because it encompasses various elements I love in my literature - a post-apocalyptic world, sci-fi, horror, existential quests, an original setting...
Unfortunately the books falls rather short of being good enough. I did persist through it hence the three stars instead of two, but it wasn't so well written. The world Glukhovsky builds is an interesting one, but not fully fleshed out. Some of the elements are not even that original. The existential monologues-dream sequences (some of which run several pages long, all in a single paragraph) are rather tiresome and shallow and the plot goes forward with fits and starts. The characters are rather basic and bland and the horror element, although starting off at a high level, quickly tapers off.
I did enjoy it, but I'm not sure it's worth my time reading the sequel....more
Starting Wool, a while ago, I found myself reading a P.K. Dick story of sorts. The Penultimate Truth, to be precise. I didn't mind, Howey seemed ableStarting Wool, a while ago, I found myself reading a P.K. Dick story of sorts. The Penultimate Truth, to be precise. I didn't mind, Howey seemed able to copy Dick's idea in a great way and weave a really thrilling story.
However, Howey set out to do the impossible - write 9 books in 2 years. Which is rather hard, even for the most prolific and great writers. This really strikes me as conceit. As it happens, the whole series is a money grab - instead of thinking the story through, fleshing out the characters and really preparing to write, Howey condensed a series that should have taken ten years to write into two. And it shows, from the declining quality, especially with the Third Shift being really nothing more than a filler and a quite boring interlude.
Thankfully, Dust was better than the Third Shift. Quite better. Which is not to say very good, though. Howey still can't write that well; his characters are mostly flat and you can't identify with them. He can't write about emotions and relationships, though he has plenty of opportunity. His side stories do not add anything and are just a failed effort to flesh out the rest of the story (Elise? Who cares about Elise?). Lots of details that don't add much, except for pages (by the way, the font is quite large, I guess for the child in us!). And the ending is quite unremarkable - not helped by the fact that you've seen it coming ages back. So, Howey's strength lies in the story itself, but he hasn't given it the attention it needs, save the beginning of the series.
Not that it's not an enjoyable book; I read it fairly quickly and liked it, but it's really not what it could/should have been as the ending of a saga.
Well. Two notches up from the Second Shift, but still not as good as the Wool collection. I think Howey must really get it together for the next instaWell. Two notches up from the Second Shift, but still not as good as the Wool collection. I think Howey must really get it together for the next instalment(s) instead of trying to put out a dozen books a year.
Not to say that is was bad, it was actually quite enjoyable, but nothing spectacularly exciting.
[b][SPOILER][/b] Jimmy's fear and waiting for the 'bad people' to come in through the security door is surprisingly stupid and easy to solve; he should just go to the door every night at midnight and enter three invalid passcodes to disable the door for the rest of the day. Seriously, what was he thinking?...more
Clearly, the weakest of all books up to now. The story does not stand well on its own - it's a bit short and lacking meat, and feels like an interludeClearly, the weakest of all books up to now. The story does not stand well on its own - it's a bit short and lacking meat, and feels like an interlude between the First Shift and what is to come, and though it offers some nice background details and explanations, Howey doesn't flesh it out much.
The characters are mostly forgettable (and, really, who could empathize with a character named "Mission"?). Wool's strength lies in the storyline, but Howey lacks the ability to deal with feelings and the psyche of his heroes.
What I can't understand is the book's rating here - 4.3 at the moment. I mean, what ratings should the classics get then? a ten, on a five-star scale?
Here's hoping to something better for the Third Shift.
I started reading the book and after a handful of pages I thought, "wait! P.K. Dick wrote that!" (Penultimate Truth and maybe more). But, thankfully,I started reading the book and after a handful of pages I thought, "wait! P.K. Dick wrote that!" (Penultimate Truth and maybe more). But, thankfully, Howey had some aces up his sleeve and added some nice turns and twists.
I really enjoyed the book and it was a page turner despite its size. At points, where chapters alternated between two settings I found myself thinking "no! Tell me more about what I just read!". So there's that.
The reasons I'm only giving it three starts are two:
-first, while the book(s) is (are) nicely written, the passages dealing with inner thoughts and sentiments were a bit boring - nothing exceptional or original. After a while I felt they just impeded the flow of the action -and second, well, it's skin-deep. It's a nice adventure but nothing more than that. In my book, good sci-fi needs more.
So, enjoyable sure, maybe for a summer on the beach, but not much more....more
At first I was trying to decide whether this would be the perfect book for an armchair by the fire or for a longchair at the beach; the latter, most pAt first I was trying to decide whether this would be the perfect book for an armchair by the fire or for a longchair at the beach; the latter, most probably.
This is a very, very enjoyable book. One of those books that will keep you up late at night and cause you to be absent-minded at work in the morning. The premise, of course, is not highly -or at all- original (go back in time; change the past; see what you've accomplished), but the setting and the progress are really good.
It's not without its flaws, however. The first half of the book is a whirlwind; the second, not so much. From a certain point onwards it's full of details that drag on without offering anything to the plot. I guess you could say these details are there to flesh the story out, but it's probably more of a case of King wanting to write a Big Book. The book stands at 850 pages long; it could easily afford to be a hundred, or even a hundred-fifty pages shorter.
King also displays characteristics of surprising immaturity along a finely woven tale; the number of times he keeps repeating about the past harmonizing, oh the times he does it! gets so old after the first hundred (YES we get it! The Past harmonizes!). Pointing out details and connections that are only too obvious is tiresome too and kind of breaks the fourth wall. Also little things, like the "Land of Ago" are more fitting of a new author.
The altered present/future he describes is quite good; wish there was more of it, and conceivably it could have made for a good second part of the book, but maybe that would be out of scope.
I also don't see why he needed to do all that research; it's not like any key event or detail isn't well-known or easily found. Yeah, he probably stayed at the places he describes and all that, but does that add anything to the story-telling? Probably not. In the case of Oswald, I would guess that a couple of books would provide enough background for the story.
Finally, the mix of love-drama is not that believable, which is a bit surprising given that King has showed that he's capable of great emotional writing.
All in all, not a great literary work, but not every book needs to be one. If you're looking to be sucked into a very pleasant book, it's really good, but don't expect anything earth-shattering....more
Silverberg is a good SF author, and though not one of my faves, I've enjoyed his work very much. But not this book.I don't know, maybe wasn't in the mSilverberg is a good SF author, and though not one of my faves, I've enjoyed his work very much. But not this book.I don't know, maybe wasn't in the mood, but I found that the internal Odyssey of the four characters just didn't touch me. Silverberg spent page after page desvribing past experiences and thoughts that have no real interest and are mundane to say the least, and in effect out of the 300+ pages of the book only about 70-80 advance the plot. A pity, because the underlying premise is very interesting. The ending also falls very, very flat.
Oh, just a note: Though Silverberg is a Sci-Fi author, this is not a SF book, even if it's classified as one....more
A great collection of some lovely stories, with very nice introductions by Silverberg himself. Not everything is on the same level, but overall a realA great collection of some lovely stories, with very nice introductions by Silverberg himself. Not everything is on the same level, but overall a really, really enjoyable collection....more
I was quite disappointed by this book. Yes, it's considered as one of Clarke's greatest, but it hasn't aged well. At all.
The more I read Clarke's workI was quite disappointed by this book. Yes, it's considered as one of Clarke's greatest, but it hasn't aged well. At all.
The more I read Clarke's works the more I understand it: Clarke, visionary as he might have been, was unable to weave his visions seamlessly into many of his works. Of course, he has given us some masterpieces, but this is not one of them. It's all too obvious when he introduces a vision of his into the story and this breaks the narrative. The characters are paper-thin and are always mouthpieces for Clarke's own moral and scientific convictions. And, to top it all, some of his predictions are wild off the mark - "a few thousand transistors and a cubic meter of printed circuits"? A "4mm camera with thousands of meters of film"? That's the problem when you make it so specific - you are making a bet you are bound to lose sooner or later.
A pity, because the underlying story is a very intriguing one....more
This is probably the worst Clarke’s book (because, admit it, who cares about Baxter?) I’ve read. Not that it’s bad, and it does keep you engrossed andThis is probably the worst Clarke’s book (because, admit it, who cares about Baxter?) I’ve read. Not that it’s bad, and it does keep you engrossed and turning pages from the very beginning, but:
-the scenario has not the grand scope that Clarke has gotten us used to and the idea is far than original (the sun is going to destroy the Earth? Come on, this is Hollywood stuff!). The first book of the trilogy was much more original and interesting as a premise -He’s using many of today’s ideas and facts as bases for tomorrow’s achievement – for instance, Google has turned into a self-conscious legal entity. Or that the EU has turned into the Eurasian Union (and the UK is still a country of euro-skepticals). This reads rather cheaply, extending current and latest trends into the future. This is not originality, and is easy to do. -Clarke always had a huge love for science, but why he feels compelled to force-feed it to us through totally fake dialogs and explanatory paragraphs, instead of quietly integrating the scientific principles into the plot is beyond me. You can’t have supposedly world-class scientists explaining to each other the basic stuff for the benefit of the reader – the dialogs feel really fake and it takes you out of it. The authors even do that with rather simple physics principles that anyone interested in SF should understand by themselves -Lamest quote I've read in a while (taken from a dialog, pp143-144): "The idea of an electromagnetic launcher dates back to the 1950s, I think. A science fiction writer. Famous in his day...". How lame is that? :6